The Blow Monkeys

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The Blow Monkeys
Origin United Kingdom
Genres New wave, pop rock, sophisti-pop, alternative rock[1]
Years active 1981–1990, 2007–present
Labels FOD, RCA, Ariola, Cherry Red
Website http://www.theblowmonkeys.com/
Members Dr. Robert (Robert Howard)
Neville Henry
Mick Anker
Tony Kiley

The Blow Monkeys are a British new wave, pop rock, sophisti-pop and alternative rock[1] band that formed in 1981. The first single, "Live Today Love Tomorrow" was released in 1982.[2] They subsequently enjoyed a successful career with several hit singles and albums across the 1980s before splitting up at the beginning of the 1990s. Their first song on the charts was "Digging Your Scene", which hit No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August, 1986.[3] They had four albums and eleven singles in the UK charts from 1986 and 1990.[4]

In late 2007, the original band members reunited. They have subsequently released four new albums (one of them a live recording).

Career[edit]

Fronted by lead singer, songwriter, guitarist and piano player Dr. Robert (born Bruce Robert Howard, 2 May 1961, Haddington, Scotland)[5] the group formed in 1981, upon Howard's return to the United Kingdom, after spending his teen years in Australia. The other members are Mick Anker on bass guitar, Neville Henry on saxophone, and Tony Kiley on drums.[5]

Limping for a Generation, new Deluxe Release

In 1984, they released their debut album, Limping for a Generation, but their first hit came two years later, in 1986, with "Digging Your Scene", from their second album, Animal Magic (which reached number 21 in the UK Albums Chart). The single attracted attention for the topical lyrics, dealing with the AIDS-fuelled backlash against gay people.[6] It peaked at number 14 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number 7 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. In addition, it reached a high of number 12 in the UK Singles Chart, number 24 in Italy and number 25 in Germany.

In January 1987, She Was Only a Grocer's Daughter, the band's third album was released; it reached number 20 in the UK, thanks to its biggest hit, "It Doesn't Have To Be This Way", which reached number 5 in the UK (and number 28 in Italy), although it never charted in the United States. However, it did feature in the film, Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. The song "You Don't Own Me" appears on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Outside of the group (though actually included on their fourth album, Whoops! There Goes the Neighbourhood), a successful single release by Robert Howard was "Wait", that featured early Chicago House diva, Kym Mazelle, on female lead vocals. The record was an early British recording in the subgenre dubbed UK garage. The track reached number 7 in the UK chart. It would later re-appear on the Blow Monkeys' first greatest hits album, Choices - The Singles Collection, their highest-charting record, reaching Number 5 in the UK Albums Chart in 1989.

The band split up in late 1990,[2] shortly after the release of their fifth album, Springtime for the World (an EP of the same name also came out, collecting all three singles from the album). After briefly recording with Dee C. Lee, as Slam Slam, Dr. Robert went solo. He contributed to Paul Weller's solo debut album, and co-wrote material with both Weller and Lee. Another notable collaborator was Beth Orton.

On 18 November 2007, the original band members announced the reunion of the Blow Monkeys, as well as a new album Devil's Tavern and a tour in 2008. The album was funded by the pre-orders placed by fans. The release date for the album was 8 September 2008. Q magazine reviewed the album by saying, "Their first album in 18 years still finds the frontman in fine voice; Robert continues to sound like he dresses only in velvet and smokes cigarillos".[7]

In June 2009, the band released a special edition double digipack CD and DVD of their performance at the 100 Club in London. It featured the original band performing fifteen songs including: "Digging Your Scene", "It Doesn't Have To Be This Way" and "Wait"; as well as other tracks from the band's earlier work along with a few new songs from Devil's Tavern.

In January 2011 the band released another new album Staring at the Sea,[8] with "Steppin' Down" as the first single issued.

Their latest album, Feels Like A New Morning, was released by Cherry Red Records in April 2013, accompanied by a second CD containing 10 Blow Monkeys songs performed by Dr. Robert.[9]

In 2013, Sony Music issued a comprehensive three disc box set, Halfway to Heaven: The Best of The Blow Monkeys & Dr Robert, covering the best of The Blow Monkeys, Dr Robert's solo work, as well as a 1984 concert from the Hammersmith Palais.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Live Today Love Tomorrow" (1982)
  • "Go Public" (1984)
  • "Man from Russia" (1984)
  • "Atomic Lullaby" (1984)
  • "Wildflower" (1985)
  • "Forbidden Fruit" (1985)
  • "Digging Your Scene" (1986) (UK Singles Chart: No. 12; US Billboard Hot 100: No. 14; US Hot Dance Club Play: No. 7; Germany: No. 25; Italy: No. 37; Netherlands: No. 37)
  • "Wicked Ways" (1986) (UK Singles Chart: No. 60)
  • "Don't Be Scared of Me" (1986) (UK Singles Chart: No. 77)
  • "It Doesn't Have to Be This Way" (1987) (UK Singles Chart: No. 5; Italy: No. 44; Netherlands: No. 29)
  • "Out with Her" (1987) (UK Singles Chart: No. 30)
  • "(Celebrate) The Day After You" with Curtis Mayfield (1987) (UK Singles Chart: No. 52)
  • "Some Kind of Wonderful" (1987) (UK Singles Chart: No. 67)
  • "This Is Your Life" (1988) (UK Singles Chart: No. 70)
  • "It Pays to Belong" (1988)
  • "Wait" (1989) Robert Howard and Kym Mazelle (UK Singles Chart: No. 7)
  • "This Is Your Life" (remix) (1989) (UK Singles Chart: No. 32)
  • "Choice?" featuring Sylvia Tella (1989) (UK Singles Chart: No. 22)
  • "Slaves No More" featuring Sylvia Tella (1989) (UK Singles Chart: No. 73)
  • "Springtime for the World" (1990) (UK Singles Chart: No. 69)
  • "La Passionara" [Remix] (1990)
  • "If You Love Somebody" (remix) (1990)
  • "The Bullet Train (2008)
  • "Travelin' Soul" (2009)
  • "Steppin' Down" (2011)
  • "Hangin' On To The Hurt (Let It Go Now)" (2011)
  • "Oh My" (2013)
  • "Feels Like A New Morning" (2013)

Albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Other appearances[edit]

  • Dirty Dancing - "You Don't Own Me"
  • The Last Temptation of Elvis - "Follow That Dream"
  • "Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol" - "It Doesn't Have To Be This Way"

Dr. Robert solo albums[edit]

  • Realms Of Gold (1994)
  • Bethesda (1995)
  • Other Folk (1996)
  • Flatlands (1999)
  • Birds Gotta Fly (2001)
  • Keep On Digging for The Gold (unreleased and rarities)(2002)
  • Live in Tokyo (2004)
  • Five In The Afternoon (with P. P. Arnold) (2007)
  • The Coming of Grace : An Introduction to Dr Robert (compilation album) (2009)
  • Flutes and Bones (2012)
  • Acoustic Blow Monkeys (2012)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "The Blow Monkeys - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  2. ^ a b "The Blow Monkeys and Dr Robert - Fencat Online". Theblowmonkeys.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  3. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  4. ^ "BLOW MONKEYS | Artist | Official Charts". UK Chart Archive. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Jancik, Wayne (1998). The Billboard book of one-hit wonders. Billboard Books. p. page 442. ISBN 0-8230-7622-9. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Singer and the Song | Learning English | BBC World Service". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  7. ^ "The Blow Monkeys and Dr Robert - Fencat Online". Theblowmonkeys.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  8. ^ "Staring at the Sea". Theblowmonkeys.com. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Feels Like A New Morning - The Blow Monkeys : Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  10. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 64/5. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  11. ^ O'Brien, Jon (2010-02-14). "Staring at the Sea - The Blow Monkeys : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  12. ^ Halfway to Heaven: The Best of The Blow Monkeys & Dr Robert

External links[edit]